Issue 2/2018, 114. Volume Page 187–212
The Countryside and Rurality
Perspectives of a Cultural Analysis of the Rural
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The rural is currently undergoing a remarkable boom. As a perceptual category in politics, the media and the leisure industry, the talk about the countryside and rurality correlates with growing economic, social and cultural inequalities in cities and rural areas. Uncertainties about the significance and future options of rural areas in the structural change of the 20th and 21st centuries manifest themselves as symptoms of a societal search for orientation. Their adjustment crises are based primarily on the transformation of modern agriculture. Their development is interpreted in this article as a reflexive modernization process. In referring back to the disciplinary history of European Ethnology, this opens up a research perspective that focuses on the side effects of technical-industrial modernization on everyday culture in rural areas and, associated with this, on the broad cultural negotiation of rurality. Following recent spatial theories, this contribution frames the discourse forming order categories of the rural landscape, which refer to the physical landscape, and of rurality as a cultural dispositive, praxeologically as „doing rural“ (Neu 2016). A tripartite research program on „Regimes of the Rural“, „Cultures in Rural Areas“ and „Imaginations of the Rural“ will then exemplify possible approaches and perspectives of a cultural analysis of the rural.
rural areas, rurality as a cultural dispositive, structural change, agriculture